Low rolling resistance tires are known to improve fuel efficiency, and many purchase them to amp up their mileage. But a study recently released by J.D. Power and Associates suggests that satisfaction is declining among consumers as the necessity of having to replace the tires – more frequently and by the pairs (instead of just one) – outweighs the benefit of the fuel efficiency kick. Some of the dissatisfaction is due to the performance of the tires, some because of the lifetime, and some due to word-of-mouth reviews on the product. According to Brent Gruber, director of the global automotive division at J.D.: “Owners of performance sports cars with run-flat tires say they ‘definitely will’ recommend their tire brand to friends and family only half as often as those whose car is equipped with standard tires (14% vs. 28% respectively).”
The study finds that customers often express apprehension regarding low-rolling resistance tires. Research conducted by J.D. Power’s Consumer Insights and Strategy Group to track social media activity surrounding these tires finds that many consumers are concerned that equipping low-rolling resistance tires on their vehicle means compromising traction and durability in exchange for better gas mileage.
Additionally, these consumers perceive that automakers select the best type of tires for their vehicle and, thus, they are apprehensive about straying too far from the original selection. While consumers ultimately conclude that low-rolling resistance tires may improve fuel efficiency, they are confused and concerned regarding the associated sacrifices, according to JDP.
“While the marketing of low-rolling resistance tires has primarily focused on fuel efficiency, tire manufacturers may also benefit from advertisements that help educate consumers about the traction and dependability of the tires,” said Gruber, “Consumers don’t fully understand the benefit of low-rolling resistant tires. They believe they are forfeiting important aspects of tire performance by opting for low-rolling resistant tires, yet don’t know how much improvement in fuel efficiency they should expect in return.”
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